GOP Presidential Hopeful Ramaswamy Brimming with Youth, Energy and Confidence

DES MOINES, Iowa — He’s young. He’s successful. And he’s extremely confident. Some might say cocky.

Rising in the Republican presidential primary polls, Ohio biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is not only predicting he will be the GOP candidate for president in 2024, he’ll force Democrats to drive President Joe Biden out of the race.

“My gut instinct is that I will be the nominee in a position to win this in a landslide against Biden, and they will not let Biden run against me,” Ramaswamy told the 1,700-plus attendees gathered for Friday’s Family Leadership Summit in downtown Des Moines.

He’s got an interesting theory.

“I believe if I am the nominee, they [the Democratic Party] will not let Biden run. It is why they are holding in the back pocket the documents case against Biden. It is why they are holding in the back pocket everything else you are wondering why they are not charging or bringing now,” he said at the nationally watched Christian conservative conference and cattle call of GOP presidential candidates.

Ramaswamy said Democrats would run “a new puppet,” such as California far-left Governor Gavin Newsom, or former First Lady Michelle Obama.

He was responding to conservative political commentator Tucker Carlson’s final, afterthought question: Do you think the incumbent president is going to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee?

It’s an interesting match-up image. The unpopular octogenarian, who many see as out of touch and cognitively struggling, versus the first millennial candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. The image seemed even more divergent during a press conference Friday when 37-year-old Ramaswamy answered questions while his 4-year-old son Karthik climbed around the podium and his father’s feet.

According to plenty of pundits, a Ramaswamy versus Biden (or whoever the Democratic Party ultimately puts up) is somewhere between long shot and highly unlikely. They say it’s former President Donald Trump’s nomination to lose. The numbers would seem to back them up.

Trump is crushing the crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls. Nationally, he’s polling 50 percent or better, 53 percent in the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls. Trump is up by 32.4 percentage points on his closest competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who’s polling at 20.6 percent in the average.

Trump’s got all the name recognition. He’s got lots of money. He’s the former president and very popular among the Republican Party grassroots.

He also comes with a lot of baggage.

Ramaswamy, perhaps best known as an anti-woke crusader, has spent the past four months since launching his “improbable” campaign introducing himself to the voters, particularly in first nominating states of Iowa and New Hampshire. He has effectively camped out in both. And, perhaps not surprisingly, the millennial candidate and his campaign team have been using technology to inundate the social networks with the name Ramaswamy.

He’s making headlines everywhere with his “American Revival” campaign that he says transcends politics and political labels. Ramaswamy claims he’ll take Trump’s Make America Great Again principles to the next level, without the troubles of Trump.

It appears to be working, at least based on the latest polls.

This week’s Morning Consult poll finds the political outsider in third place, with 8 percent support among potential Republican voters surveyed. He’s lagging far behind Trump in the poll, who dominates at 56 percent, but Ramaswamy appears to be cutting into the strength of DeSantis’ second seed. The Florida governor, according to Morning Consult, was at 17 percent support, an all-time low in the poll since it began surveying potential 2024 candidates in December.

Does Ramaswamy really think he can go up against the political juggernaut that is Donald Trump?

“Yes,” he said without hesitation when asked the question by The Iowa Star.

“It would seem we are doing really well in this race. A lot better than, frankly, I expected to be this early on. I think that’s strictly a function of the message,” he said following his time on the hot seat with Carlson at the Family Leadership Summit. Carlson interviewed many of the top tier candidates, including DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, and U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) at the event. “Against the backdrop of what my team tells me is very low name ID, we’ve shattered the ceiling on how many small dollar donors we or others expected us to get.”

What the polls don’t always pick up is the kind of response Ramaswamy is getting at events large and small on the campaign trail in first-in-the-nation caucus state. At Des Moines’ old Veterans Memorial Auditorium (now named after a credit union) on Friday, the young candidate had the hundreds of Christian conservatives in attendance routinely applauding and a few times on their feet.

“I think there is no basis for us to send our young men and women and our sons and daughters, people my age or any age to go and defend somebody else’s border halfway around the world when we should be using our military to secure our border in this country,” he said, one of his biggest applause lines during the session.

He called out his Republican opponents for being “indistinguishable” from Biden in their support for greater U.S involvement in Russia’s war in Ukraine. And he said the Capitol riots on Jan. 6, 2021 were the result of a full year of disinformation by the U.S. government and much of the media on everything from COVID to the 2020 election.

Many Iowa voters are starting to talk about Ramaswamy, too. A few months ago, plenty had a hard time pronouncing his name (many still do). But voters like Galen Bennett say they like what they’re hearing from the second-generation Indian American.

“I like what Vivek had to say,” said Bennett, who drove some three hours from Moville near Sioux City with his wife Donna to attend the leadership summit. They’re keeping their options open.

Others say the numbers and the timing might work against Ramaswamy, but they’d like to see him part of a Republican presidential administration.

“Vivek, I hope, has a role in government even if he doesn’t get the position of president because I think he’s super smart, super bold, and super energetic,” Steve Opsal of Clive said.

For now, the millennial candidate keeps on keeping on, confidently campaigning on his message of American revival. He certainly doesn’t think he’s just another flash in the pan in the Republican Party nomination chase.

“It happens every presidential race where someone will take off early and then flame out, but I think, for us, it’s just the beginning. This is really just the beginning of what’s to come,” Ramaswamy said.

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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.
Photo “Vivek Ramaswamy and Tucker Carlson” by Vivek Ramaswamy. 



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